This was not Louis van Gaal’s Mark Robins
moment. That, supposedly, was the moment
when an FA Cup third round goal against
Nottingham Forest in 1990 saved Alex Ferguson’s
job in the face of mounting pressure.
Memphis Depay winning the penalty and Wayne
Rooney converting it in injury time to beat
Sheffield United 1-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday
hasn’t taken the pressure off Van Gaal. But for
whatever reason, it seems United are willing to
keep him for the foreseeable future, and so this
miserable FA Cup third round win won’t change
If the rumours are to be believed, then when the
stories came out across various papers that Van
Gaal had two games to save his job in December,
then they were correct at the time. Ed Woodward
is a chatty man, and so when several papers all
run with the same story – and when they are not
quickly denied by the club – it’s a reasonable
inference to make that someone, at least close to
him, steered the papers to write such a thing.
The obvious and demonstrable lack of support
from the club, who were asked to make Van
Gaal’s position clear and chose not to, says
enough. Van Gaal’s job was at risk.
Woodward might have been able to spin the
appointment of Jose Mourinho as an opportunity
too good to turn down. But Van Gaal is his man
and removing him could have been an invitation
for the Glazers to take a look at Woodward and
wonder where their quarter of a billion pounds of
transfer money had gone. As such, it surely
became harder for Woodward to get rid of Van
Gaal, and so there seems to be an acceptance
that the Dutchman is now in place for some time.
Looking at the Sun’s story that some players
think that a new man will be in this summer,
there’s some justification for such a belief.
Knowing that life under Van Gaal did, in fact, offer
some parole relatively soon, might have been the
reason for the marginal improvements against
Chelsea and Swansea. As would the poor quality
of opposition. Chelsea are not yet recovered from
their Mourinho funk, and Swansea are struggling
under their caretaker manager just as they were
under Garry Monk.
Getting four points from two matches against
Chelsea and Swansea was by no means
impressive, even if the sheer novelty of the
matches lifted the mood of the fans. But they fell
apart as soon as they met a spirited League One
team on Saturday.
The ensuing claims that Rooney was ‘great’ in
those league games have been shown up as
poppycock. He was, against Sheffield United,
absolutely awful. So were the rest of the side, but
as captain he should be leading by example.
Perhaps that’s unfair, given the rest of the team
were as appalling as he was. Perhaps they really
are taking their lead from him.
Marouane Fellaini lasted for much of the match,
with Juan Mata and Ander Herrera the first two
players to be sacrificed. It’s for this reason that
Rooney’s goal won’t have made any meaningful
difference to perceptions of Van Gaal.
Read the full article on Eurosport
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